Checking in with Cook County Chamber lobbyist
WTIP file photo

Checking in with Cook County Chamber lobbyist

Judy Erickson is the government relations representative for the Cook County Chamber. Judy and her colleague, Joe Birkholz, with Conservation Strategies have become well-known to local businesses.

WTIP periodically checks in with Erickson to hear about happenings at the Capitol since the legislature recessed for an Easter/Passover break on April 9, so it seemed a good time to get Erickson’s thoughts on how things are going at the Capitol in matters that impact Cook County.

WTIP asked Erickson about COVID-19 precautions at the Capitol and she said things are loosening up. The Capitol itself is now open to the public. The Senate Office building has been open since the beginning of the session in January.  The House Office building is not as open, an appointment must be made for a one-on-one visit.   Erickson said people are happy to be back. She said the “hum” that is part of the life of a lobbyist is back.

A group of Cook County people was at the Capitol in March on “Duluth Days” at the Capitol, which includes some representatives from all along the North Shore. Erickson organized that event and told WTIP it went well. The Cook County people met with legislatures key to Cook County issues. She said this is a critical activity as often “one size fits all” legislation does not work for Cook County.

Issues that those Cook County representatives and Erickson have been working on are the lodging tax renewal for Visit Cook County, some administrative changes at North Shore Health, and Gitchi Gami Bike Trail bonding.

Asked about housing and childcare programs, WTIP asked if there is anything specific to Cook County to look for. Erickson said no, but her company watches the statewide bills. Sometimes programs that could fund a housing program have criteria that don’t work for Cook County. When that happens, Erickson said, Conservation Strategies meets with legislators to make sure the criteria works for the North Shore.

The legislature reconvenes on April 19 and then is scheduled to adjourn for this session on May 23.

Hear WTIP’s Rhonda Silence speaking with Cook County Chamber Government Relations Representative Judy Erickson in this interview.